Kawasaki’s KR1000 Was A Dominant Endurance Motorcycle – SlashGear



In the 1981 Endurance World Championship, Kawasaki provided the first KR1000 endurance racing bike to its French endurance racing team, Kawasaki France Performance. With the help of this bike, the team scored all four slots on the podium, securing the manufacturer’s world championship title for Kawasaki with gusto.

Following this first victory, Kawasaki continued to iterate upon the KR1000 framework. It already brought home the gold once, so it was their best bet to do it again, though a few tweaks certainly didn’t hurt. For the 1982 Endurance World Championship, Kawasaki sent France Performance to the starting line once again, equipped with upgraded KR1000s for the whole team. These improved models included lightweight aluminum components, a Uni-tank rear suspension, a magnesium swingarm, and more. With the power of this upgraded bike, not only did France Performance win the race again, but it swept all four podium stands again.

Kawasaki had a lightning bolt on its hands, so it decided to let it roar one more time, this time at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race in Le Mans, France. Against all odds (or perhaps completely in line with the odds), Kawasaki swept the podium once again, securing a final, happy ending for the KR1000.

Kawasaki took a break from the endurance racing scene for a few years after this landmark victory, returning in 1988 with the ZXR-7. The KR1000 only had three years to its name, but what years they were.

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